New summer hours established for training room
For the first summer in Dartmouth's history, injured athletes and students can limp into the Big Green's training room and find salvation.
The training room, funded through Dick's House, has not had enough financial support until this year to extend its services during the summer months.
This has been a concern for athletes and coaches who recognize the importance of year-long injury prevention and maintenance.
"It's become more and more of an issue over the past few years particularly because of the Dartmouth-Plan and the number of students that are on campus during the summer, particularly athletes who are training," Dartmouth Head Trainer Jeff Frechette said. "Certainly there is a need to have some people here in the summer on some basis."
This summer the training room will open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m on an experimental basis.
"All along we have recognized there was a need, but it was always a question of whether we could work it out from a financial situation, since technically the trainers are only hired for 10 months," Director of College Health Services Dr. Jack Turco said.
In previous summers, athletes occasionally received help from trainers who happened to be on campus working at various junior athletic camps.
But this put extra pressures on those trainers, who were not officially hired by the College.
"We've always accommodated those people because we don't want to turn them away," Frechette said.
Coaches and athletes, who have recognized trainers make themselves available during their free time, support the official hiring of staff for the summer hours.
"I think they have always made themselves available," Women's Soccer Coach Steve Swanson said. "Having them here officially though, will be a good opportunity for our athletes. It will be a great way for them to continue rehabbing especially since we will be starting our season in the end of August."
Whether or not the training room will be open in following summers is still a question.
"It's all a matter of priorities," Turco said. "We'll have to see after this summer if there is a real need for it. Unfortunately, if you add something, that means sometimes you need to cut out another thing. We'll have to look at the overall budget and if we feel there is a need, we'll have to decide on what adjustments need to be made."
The funding is currently coming from money the training room had saved by not developing an intern program.
"I think certainly that funding is an issue anytime," Frechette said. "It is my understanding that there is some money in my budget for some student interns from Northeastern [University] and that, for at least this year, we use some of that money to fund some of the hours."
However, as the trainers are presently overworked, the need for interns will increase, and those funds will be used to hire student staff members from other universities. Dartmouth has no comparable program in sports training.
"We still do need in upcoming years to pursue a full time graduate intern that will help out with some of our staffing shortages," Frechette said.
"We can always use more staff. We have 34 varsity teams here. I think we do a pretty good job here given what we have," he added
On average, nearly 80 students go in and out of the training room per day. This number increases even more during football season.
But in addition to supervising these students in the training room, Dartmouth's six full-time trainers are also responsible for attending practices and traveling with teams.
With these excessive demands the Dartmouth trainers are not only looking for more staff, but also hope to expand their current space.
"We have started some very preliminary talks about the training facility," Frechette said. "We have talked about what are needs are. We actually had a preliminary floor plan that architects had devised. We are very early in the process and I'm not sure where we go from now. We feel that there is a need though."
The status of such a project is still unknown though, and once again, funding will most likely become the major issue.
"The size of the project we are talking about is something you cannot fund through your budget," Frechette said. "It is something you would have to have some sort of support with."